Michelle Obama visited Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas last week, where she met with a top military health official. They announced that there would be positive nutritional changes to the menus at all the military bases across the USA to try to counteract growing obesity in the military.
These changes will mean more choices of more fresh fruits and vegetables, more lean meats and whole grains for the soldiers and their families. These changes extend also to vending machines , snack bars and restaurants on posts throughout the nation. Additionally, this program aims to teach the military children about eating healthy and keeping fit – a continuation of Mrs Obama’s campaign to counter child obesity and educate children about healthy choices.
Our servicemen need to be in the best shape possible as they defend our country. Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, stated that 30% of potential recruits are too overweight to meet military standards, and 1200 entry level candidates are rejected annually because they are not fit enough to join. An article in the Navy Times quotes the following figures: 20% of Active Duty and National Guard soldiers, 40 -49, are obese, and more than 40% of military retirees of the same age have been diagnosed as obese.
A soldier who is overweight will end up costing the military financially as there is increased healthcare need to deal with weight-related issues.
Mrs Obama said last week: "When our service members make healthy eating a priority in their lives, the rest of us are more likely to make it a priority in our lives," she said. "Simply put, this is America's entire military once again stepping forward to lead by example.”